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Prosecutors identify Jackson fingerprints

Singer, accuser’s prints found on explicit magazines
/ Source: The Associated Press

Prosecutors in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial on Friday showed the jury fingerprints they said were left by Jackson and his accuser on sexually explicit magazines seized from the pop star’s Neverland ranch.

A magazine called Hustler Barely Legal Hardcore from October 2000 had Jackson’s left thumb print on page 54 and three fingerprints from the accuser on page 92, according to witness Robert Spinner, who is retired from Santa Barbara County’s forensics unit but continues to do work for the county.

A fingerprint from the accuser was also found on a September 1993 copy of a magazine called Visions of Fantasy Sam and Jose’s Black Starlett, while another print was found on a calendar for adult videos, he said.

Fingerprints from the accuser’s brother were found on a December 2000 copy of Finally Legal, and 12 Jackson fingerprints were found on other magazines that did not have prints from either boy, Spinner said.

All of the boys’ fingerprints were from magazines taken from a briefcase that investigators found in a bathroom in Jackson’s master bedroom.

The fingerprint evidence was introduced after testimony on the testing and handling of a great number of adult magazines seized from Neverland, where the singer allegedly molested a 13-year-old cancer patient in February or March 2003.

The defense has argued that fingerprint analysis wasn’t done until months after the items were found. On Friday, Jackson’s lawyers tried to sow further doubt on the legitimacy of the evidence through cross examination.

Alicia Romero, who supervises exhibits for the court, testified that she and another employee handled the items without wearing gloves and were later told to use them. She said she monitored everyone who viewed the evidence, including defense attorneys and a sheriff’s detective, and all wore gloves.

Timothy Sutcliffe, a sheriff’s forensics expert, acknowledged that labels on two fingerprints were switched.

County fingerprint technician Nancy Torres said she was in training when she helped use a device to process fingerprints in the case, which she said was the only one she had ever worked on.

Meanwhile, Jackson attorney Brian Oxman returned to court Friday after falling ill earlier this week and being hospitalized for treatment of pneumonia. Jackson and his mother, Katherine, hugged Oxman when he arrived at court.